Category Archives: Armenia

Fidelity to the Mission of Renewal

By Hratch Tchilingirian*

One of the most impressive characteristics of the Armenian Evangelical Church is the fact that, despite being small in numbers among Armenians worldwide, this 175-year-old church is one of the most active, visible and organized institutions in the Armenian world. Today, the mission, value and legitimacy of the Armenian Evangelical Church is indisputable, even as there had been periodic conflicts with the Armenian Apostolic Church in the past and after Armenia’s independence.

Throughout their history and ministry, the Armenian Evangelicals have shown fidelity to the original mission of the church: the spiritual renewal of Armenians, the “Christian renaissance”of the Armenian nation. It is not a coincidence that the Armenian Protestant Church was established in the 19th century during the Armenian “intellectual renaissance”in the Ottoman Empire. Historians agree that a separate Armenian Protestant denomination was “imported”and “implanted”by European and United States missionaries but are divided over the causes and effects of events which led to the establishment of a separate church movement.

Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian

As Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian, a minister and prolific author of many books, describes, “submission to Christ’s commandments is utmost priority for the members of the Armenian Evangelical Church.” The preaching of the Gospel and complete commitment to Christ have been visible and indispensable aspects of the Armenian Evangelical Church. Yet, upholding Armenian religious, cultural and patriotic traditions in community life and pursuing the rights of the Armenian people have been equally important.

The “national mission”of the Armenian Evangelical Church was described most profoundly by the late Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, a charismatic leader, at the first Armenia-Diaspora Conference in September 1999. During his official address as representative of the worldwide Armenian Evangelicals, Rev. Janbazian communicated the Evangelical community’s wish and support for Karabakh’s liberation and independence, for the defense and security of Armenia, for the creation of conditions for political stability and a democratic system of government in Armenia, for a strong Armenian economy, for reform and modernity in Armenia’s educational system and for Armenian Genocide recognition by a greater number of nations and international bodies. At this unprecedented national gathering, rather than a narrow denominational understanding, Rev. Janbazian gave a wider, ecumenical definition to the mission of the Armenian nation. “In 301 AD, our forebears made a covenant with Jesus Christ. If we fulfill our commitment to that covenant, then God will abundantly bless our small but precious nation, and He will make our nation a source of blessings not only to its sons and daughters, but also to its neighboring peoples and to all humanity. We believe this is our nation’s reason for being; this is our people’s mission in the world; and this is the God-ordained destiny of our Haigazian [Armenian] race.”

Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian speaking at the first Armenia-Diaspora Conference, 1999

Among the many contributions to Armenian life, two main areas of great impact stand out: education and Christian charity. While Christian education is part of the church’s core mission, the Armenian Evangelical Church is well known for its network of high quality public schools throughout the Armenian world. They have been among the pioneers of education in post-Genocide Armenian communities, especially in the Middle East. The establishment and support of schools is part of the Armenian Evangelical “culture.” The Evangelical schools are not only well known for the quality of curriculum, teaching staff and administration, but for the values and moral fortitude they instil in the students. The fact that most of their students come from non-Evangelical families is a testament to their success

Jenanian Apostolic Institute
Konya, Turkey.

The crown-jewel of the Armenian Evangelical Church’s commitment to education is the founding of Haigazian College (later University) in Beirut in 1955. It remains the only Armenian institution of higher education in the Diaspora and is accredited by the Ministry of Higher Education of Lebanon. It is a member of the Association of International Colleges and Universities and offers over 20 undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Historically significant, the University is named after Yale University graduate Dr. Armenag Haigazian (1879-1921), former Principal of the Jenanian Apostolic Institute in Konya, Turkey. A respected educator and community leader, during the Genocide, Haigazian died on the road to exile in Kharpert. His family in the United States donated seed money for the establishment of the school.

Perhaps the secret of the success of the Armenian Evangelical Church is its decentralized nature and the fact that it does not have a hierarchy. Unlike the Apostolic and the Catholic Churches, the Evangelicals do not have a supreme head or central headquarters. The more liberal, consensual and accommodating organizational model of the Armenian Evangelicals gives them an advantage to operate effectively in the globalized 21st century. Arguably, the Armenian Evangelical Church seems to be ahead of all other Armenian organizations: organizationally decentralized but unified in mission. This is in contrast to other religious, political and civic organizations with very strong chains of command.

It is only in recent decades that the AMAA, the mission arm of the church, has become the de facto “center”of the church, not through “election”but by acclaim and in recognition of its work on behalf of the Evangelical community. The AMAA’s mission focuses on charity, education, financial assistance and “the spiritual growth and development of the Armenian people.”Since the 1988 earthquake and especially since Armenia’s independence, the bulk of the AMAA’s resources and contributions have gone to Armenia and Artsakh, where they have established permanent offices. Many times, the AMAA and its affiliates have punched above their weight and provided enormous amounts of assistance that belie their small size and capacities.

During the last nearly two centuries, the relations of the Evangelical Armenians with the “Mother Church,”the Armenian Apostolic Church, have not always been smooth. But the late Catholicos Karekin I (Sarkissian) of All Armenians, at the 150th Anniversary celebrations in Yerevan, praised the ministry of the Evangelicals in the life of the Armenian nation and “prayed for the Armenian Evangelicals to become stronger and spread their spiritual values among [the] nation, together with the Armenian Apostolic Church.”

Commitment to the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith, commitment to education and the well being of the Armenian nation, and commitment to doing charity work where needed are defining values of the Armenian Evangelical Church. “When every criticism has been made, and every allowance recorded for the imperfection of the Armenian Evangelical Church,”wrote Rev. Tootikian, “the fact remains that she worked her way into many corners of the life of the Armenian Nation. Obvious faults and weaknesses must not hide the deeper significance of the Evangelical Movement, because measured by its effects, it proved itself a potent force among the Armenian people.”

The clear mission and vision set 175 years ago will, no doubt, continue for many generations to come. The Armenian Evangelicals are small in size but significant in their impact.

*Dr. Hratch Tchilingirian is an Associate Faculty Member of Oriental Studies at University of Oxford.

Artsakh in My Heart: AMAA’s Vision for Artsakh

By Rev. Dr. René Léonian, AMAA Representative in Eurasia

Since its founding in 1918, the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA) has always aimed to be vital to the Armenian people. It is in a Christian spirit, and in the name of love of neighbor, that the AMAA has organized its programs.

The essence of AMAA’s work is summed up in its support to churches, its Christian education, humanitarian, educational, cultural and development programs.

After the devastating earthquake in Armenia on December 7, 1988, the AMAA’s Board of Directors, under the leadership of its Executive Director Rev. Movses Janbazian decided to invest heavily in Armenia and come to the aid of families in the disaster areas. From the early years of AMAA’s involvement in Armenia, the Association partnered with Espoir pour l’Armenie – Hope for Armenia of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches of France. At the time, the official authorities of Soviet Armenia praised AMAA’s mission and service in the Homeland.

The official ribbon cutting ceremony of the AMAA Center in Stepanakert, Artsakh in 1998, with Artsakh Republic Minister of Foreign Affairs Naira Melkumyan, AMAA Executive Director Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, AMA-AUS President Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, AMAA Field Director Hagop Manjelikian, local/overseas guests, and Armenian Church representatives.

On September 10, 1991, the AMAA was officially registered in Armenia to work in two directions (cf. official registration text):

– “To help the Armenian people in spiritual, religious, educational programs and publications.

– through humanitarian programs.”

On September 21, 1991, Armenia became independent and immediately afterwards the AMAA established its permanent headquarters in Yerevan (with “Hope for Armenia”).

In the fall of 1994, I had the privilege to be the Representative of the Armenian Evangelical World Council and the AMAA. The AMAA’s services were originally focused on the earthquake zone, then gradually it spread to the whole Armenian territory. From time to time, sporadic actions were carried out in Artsakh.

After a few years, the AMAA decided not to neglect Artsakh. Thus, in 1995, the leadership of the AMAA in the United States and the leadership of AMAA in Armenia, decided to set up a permanent center in Artsakh. That same year the AMAA officially registered in Artsakh as the first Diasporan Armenian philanthropic organization.

This materialized through contacts with the highest authorities of the Republic of Artsakh. It was facilitated by personal ties, but also because the AMAA’s reputation in Armenia was appreciated by the President and the Government of Artsakh.

Rev. Janbazian and I had a similar conception of the goal to be reached and shared these objectives with Hagop Manjelikian, who was AMAA’s Field Director at the time.

Arsen Manasyan, who was appointed Coordinator of the AMAA’s programs in Artsakh in 1996, strategically directed our offices in Stepanakert and supervised the AMAA’s work throughout Artsakh. His courage and faith in God enabled the realization of our programs in the early years. 

While being in full agreement with the objectives enshrined in the official statutes of the AMAA, spiritual and philanthropic action, we believed that Artsakh represented much more than a piece of territory. Artsakh was like a part of us.

During the Artsakh war for independence from 1990 to1994, it was at the cost of the sacrifice of our soldiers and the Armenian population that we regained our honor and our pride in being Armenian. We understood that the security and independence of Artsakh were the guarantors of the security and independence of Armenia.

That is why it was necessary for the AMAA to invest in many areas of the lives of our brothers and sisters in Artsakh. Very quickly, the AMAA focused on the Christian education aspect of the younger generation, as well as their social, economic, educational and cultural needs. Through these programs, we knew that we would encourage the local people to stay in Artsakh.

The official inauguration of the new headquarters in Stepanakert was held on July 15, 1998. The Government of Artsakh, by its presence at the inauguration ceremony, expressed its support for our patriotic, humanitarian and spiritual action.

That day in Stepanakert with Rev. Janbazian, our international delegation and our local leaders, we first stopped at the Cemetery of the heroes who fell during the liberation war to meditate. Rev. Janbazian deeply moved us by his words filled with gratitude to these young people who fell at the front for the defense of the Armenian borders and for the defense of Armenians all over the world.

Later in the day, we went to Shushi to visit this “impregnable” fortress. We prayed in the magnificent Ghazanchetsots Cathedral. When I left the Church, I asked Rev. Janbazian to follow me and our local Coordinator Arsen Manasyan. The three of us went to visit a house 500 meters away with adjoining land. I said to Rev. Janbazian: “We have a permanent seat in Stepanakert, now we must also set the presence of the AMAA in Shushi, because Shushi is the place where, in 1823, the Swiss missionaries of the Evangelical Mission of Basel settled and, it is there that the Evangelical movement began in the Caucasus (Eastern Armenia) among the Armenians.  Rev. Janbazian looked at this beautiful house and said: “It’s okay, you find the money in France and we buy it.”  In the following months, an Armenian from France financed this purchase and that’s how AMAA settled in Shushi. This house was also the place where AMAA’s Summer Camp Program in Shushi developed. Soon AMAA also took charge of the only kindergarten in Shushi.

We were so happy, along with our Artsakh colleagues, to have been able to help the city of Shushi flourish.

Today, we are still reeling from the defeat of the war and the surrender of November 10, 2020. However, we believe that better days will come. The AMAA is still present in Artsakh. Our on-site representatives do an extraordinary job and under the leadership of Executive Director/CEO Zaven Khanjian, the AMAA is raising awareness around the world on the situation and needs of Artsakh.

Thanks to the help and prayers of all AMAA members and friends, we will continue to participate in the recovery and development of Artsakh and its people.

We have been shaken, but we believe God has not forsaken us. The children of Artsakh will still sing patriotic and spiritual songs, they will still dance our folk dances, they will continue their studies, and they will grow up healthy, under the benevolent gaze of the Good Shepherd.

So, we will say as usual with faith and comfort: “Next year in Shushi!”

Rev. Dr. René Léonian was AMAA Representative in Artsakh 1995-2011

The first property bought in Shushi, where the AMAA’s Summer Camp Program was developed.

Call to the Political Elite in the Homeland

With extreme anxiety and deep concern we follow the current existential crisis in the Homeland and the alienation of cohesive dialogue , mutual respect and concession over a common cause. We are cognizant that answers are sought not only on the recent Artsakh war, but also of blatant failures in security, defense, and diplomacy over the past quarter century.

            We are convinced that the Homeland needs a national leadership that inspires confidence to all its citizens and finds its way through the realm of the law in the perimeters of the country’s constitution.

            In view of the current mounting threat to Armenia’s peace, progress, prosperity and national unity, we call on all parties to lay aside their differences in the name of the Homeland and the sublime interests of the Armenian nation and gather around a table to formulate a mutually agreed plan for snap elections.

            We wholeheartedly pray that all national, political and institutional leadership use their political wisdom to secure lasting peace and tranquility in Armenia.

Rev. Dr. Vahan H. Tootikian, Executive Director, Armenian Evangelical World Council

Zaven Khanjian, Executive Director/CEO, Armenian Missionary Association of America

March 2, 2021


Խոր անձկութեամբ եւ յուզումով կը հետեւինք Հայաստան Աշխարհի ներկայ ճգնաժամային անցուդարձերուն եւ իրարամերժ ոգիով արտայայտուած քաղաքական միտքերուն եւ ուղղութիւններուն: Իրազեկ ենք այն իրողութեան, որ արդարօրէն պատասխաններ կը փնտռուին ոչ միայն Արցախեան վերջին պատերազմի մասին, այլ նաեւ անցնող քառորդ դարու անվտանգութեան, պաշտպանութեան եւ դիւանագիտական ծալքերու մէջէն ի յայտ եկած ձախողութիւններուն համար:

Համոզուած ենք, որ Հայրենիքը պէտք ունի վստահութիւն ներշնչող իշխանութեան մը, որ իր ուղին գտնէ երկրի սահմանադրութեան պարագիծի մէջ ակօսուած օրէնքի ճանապարհով:

Ի տես Հայաստանի խաղաղութեան սպառնացող ներկայ վտանգին եւ համազգային բնոյթ ունեցող քաղաքական այս տագնապին, այսու, կոչ կ’ընենք բոլոր կողմերուն յանուն հայրենիքի եւ հայ ազգի գերագոյն շահերուն մէկդի դնել տարբերութիւնները եւ հաւաքուիլ սեղանի մը շուրջ տնօրինելու արտակարգ ընտրութիւններու շուրջ համաձայնուած ծրագիր մը:

Ի բոլոր սրտէ կ’աղօթենք, որ հայրենի քաղաքական եւ կուսակցական ղեկավարները իրենց քաղաքական իմաստութիւնը գործածեն ի սէր Հայաստանի անդորրութեան եւ խաղաղութեան:

Վեր. Վահան Յ. Թութիկեան, Գործադիր Տնօրէն, Հայ Աւետարանական Համաշխարհային Խորհուրդ

Զաւէն Խանճեան, Գործադիր Տնօրէն, Ամերիկայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութիւն

Մարտ 2, 2021

🕊️Armenia and Artsakh: The Doves Will Fly Again

Dear Children of God,

Dear Friends,

A danger of extinction is looming over the heads of our kin in Artsakh.

An existential threat shadows the sovereign states of Armenia and Artsakh.

We are witnessing an uninhibited emergence of a century old evil on the Western and Eastern borders of our homeland,

But our cry is for PEACE.

The unalienable right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is a gift from the Creator to all nations and people in every corner of the planet.

The people of Artsakh are on the forefront to deserve that gift.

In a free and democratic show of will, the people of Artsakh have long exercised their right of self-determination and desire to freely live, love, worship, develop and prosper.

Early morning on Sunday, September 27, 2020 that right was violated by Azerbaijan.

Incited, encouraged and armed by Turkey, Azerbaijan launched an all-out military assault on the peaceful population of Artsakh.

A heinous and indiscriminate shelling of the peaceful civilian population of border towns and villages including the capital Stepanakert, ensued.

Artsakh was shelled by artillery fire, military assault drones, helicopters and missiles.

Our people are crying for PEACE and in the process, the heroic defenders of our land, homes, churches, families, women and children are determined to secure the homeland and protect its borders.

Dozens have been martyred, hundreds wounded and thousands have been evacuated.

But the defenders are holding firm to the land of Noah.

Our collective support is critical as the battles continue to escalate.

There can only be one outcome to the situation.


Victory requires sacrifice and the people of Armenia and Artsakh are determined to shed their blood.

We are called to pray for peace, raise awareness in our surroundings and share our material resources to sustain the people of Artsakh and their land, support the victims of war, care for the wounded and offer an honorable goodbye to the martyrs.

During a meeting of community leaders in the United States, the honorable ROA Ambassador, HE Varuzhan Nercessian, shared the desire of the national leadership in Armenia and Artsakh to channel all support and sustenance through the ‘Hayastan’ All Armenian Fund (

The Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA), totally cognizant of the emergency situation on the ground, has advanced the Armenia Fund an initial sum of $100,000 with the promise of more.

The AMAA has placed its facilities in Artsakh and Armenia under the disposal of the civilian authorities to shelter women, children and the elderly.

The doves will once again fly out of Noah’s ark and soar uninhibited into the skies praising the Lord.

Your gracious support will sound the trumpets.


Zaven Khanjian 
AMA-America Executive Director/CEO

Mail check to: AMA-Australia 12A Castle Crescent Belrose NSW 2085 memo: Lebanon Urgent Relief
Make an online donation with a note “Lebanon Emergency Appeal
Direct deposit: AMA-Australia bank account with your name as reference
Bank: Commonwealth Bank Account Name, Armenian Missionary Association of Australia
BSB Number: 062272 – Acc. Number: 1009 3977

Artsakh in Our Hearts

Yesterday, Sunday 27 September 2020 afternoon Sydney time, we were devastated to receive the disturbing news from our beloved Artsakh. Since seven in the morning, Artsakh time, Azeris with their allies and hired mercenaries launched an aggressive military attack and declared war against Artsakh, creating panic and fear in the Armenian civilian population. There were several air strikes on the border and also in the capital Stepanakert.

This attack, which was not unexpected, resulted in many casualties, including Armenian soldiers and innocent civilians young and old. As a result, the Artsakh president, Mr. Arayik Harutyunyan, announced martial law and gave his orders to fully mobilise the army and in a speech given soon after the Azeri military launch, called all men, age 18 and up, to be recruited in preparation, if this turns to a full scale war. In his evening media press conference, the President made clear that Artsakh is not in war against Azerbaijan only, but also with their ally and partner Turkey.

The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia joins the Australian Armenian organisations with the Armenian National Committee of Australia and the entire Armenian nation and the civilized world and in the strongest terms, condemns this aggression. Also, calls the Australian Government, Federal and State, to condemn this violent attack, which resulted and will still result in the loss of civilians. We are sure that the Friends of Artsakh, which include Australian politicians, religious and community leaders, as well as many public figures, will join in condemning this aggression.

The Armenian Missionary Association of America Executive Director, Mr. Zaven Khanjian, has already announced that the Armenian Missionary Association, places its facilities in the Artsakh Republic under the disposal of the civilian authorities to shelter women, children and the elderly to keep them safe during the violent attacks.

The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia calls on all peace-loving people and nations to join in prayer, seeking God’s protection for the people. Please join us in prayer for the people of Artsakh and all those brave young men, who are defending their land, the land of their ancestors.

To you, our dear friend and President, Mr. Arayik Harutyunyan, we say: “Be strong, and courageous, because we are sure that you will lead the people of Artsakh and the brave men, to protect the land that God has given to our forefathers. Be strong and courageous, because we all are with you in these very difficult and critical times. God is with you and we all are in this with you, even if we are miles away from our beloved motherland Artsakh and Armenia”.

Artsakh is our stronghold. Artsakh is and always will be in our hearts with its beauty and inspiration.

In prayer and reassurance.

Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian
President and CEO
Armenian Missionary Association of Australia

The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia Fundraising Surpasses $2,000,000


The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia, run by all volunteers, has reached an important milestone through its fundraising efforts. Since its inception, the AMA-Australia, have raised over $2,000,000. Securing two Endowment Funds for education, the Anthony Rozanski ($500,000) and the Barkev Ishkhanian Fund ($50,000). The income from the funds is used to support students in Lebanon.

With the efforts of the founding board members and consequently with the members who have served over three year terms, with the leadership of its President and CEO, the annual turnover in 2001 financial year of $12,000, by God’s grace surpassed $2,000,000 in June 2020.

The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia (AMA-Australia) a registered Incorporation in Australia and acting as a charity, pursues the same aims as the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMA America), which is to extend a helping hand to our Armenian brothers and sisters in Armenia, Artsakh and the Middle East, struggling and facing a hard time to make ends meet.

In 2021 we will celebrate the 20th Anniversary of AMA-Australia.

Since the launch in 2001 the AMA-Australia has embarked on journey of mission and adopted many projects and organised fundraisers to support the needy. The programs have included social and cultural initiatives. The main projects of the Association since its formation are the Child Scholarship Program to needy children in Armenia, Education Sponsorship Program for needy students in Lebanon and Syria, Relief aid to Armenia and in the last few years especially for Syria. We also have a sponsorship program for children in Armenia and students in Lebanon and distribution of Christian literature, such as 400 copies of Our Daily bread and the AMAA Newsletter, in Australia and New Zealand.

AMA-Australia does not have paid staff, buildings, offices or even a business phone. All the work is done via emails and correspondence. The AMA-Australia Website and Facebook are active. You can follow our programs, activities and news by visiting our website and following us on Facebook.

We need your help!

Our aim is to let as many people know the works of this organisation, and help fundraising efforts to fuel projects in 2020 & 2021, ESPECIALLY in these tough times for our Armenian brothers and sisters in Armenia, Artsakh and the Middle East.

Without your donations and support we would not have been able to raise the much-needed funds to pursue our goals for the glory of God.

Please continue to support us, if you have already done so, or join your hands and help us to do better in the coming years.

AMAA Executive Director Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian’s Historical Speech at the Armenia Diaspora 1st Conference held in Yerevan, Armenia, on September 22-23, 1999

Dignitaries at the First Armenia Diaspora Conference Opening in Yerevan – September 1999. From left: the 84th Armenian Patriarch of Constantinople and All of Turkey His Beatitude Archbishop Mesrob II Mutafyan, AMAA Executive Director Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, His Holiness Aram I Catholicos of Holy See of Cilicia, Armenian General Vazgen Sargsyan and Armenia Parliament Speaker Karen Demirchyan.

“At the Armenia Diaspora Conference in Yerevan in September 1999, as representative of the Armenian Evangelical Community, Rev. Movses Janbazian addressed the audience. But among all the political and religious speakers, Janbazian’s was the strongest and most nationalistic.” AIM Magazine, October 2000

Your Excellencies, Presidents of the Republics of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabagh, your Holiness, and dear compatriots.

Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian addresses the audience

On behalf of the Armenian Evangelical World Council and the 155 Armenian Evangelical Churches of the Homeland and the Diaspora, we greet you with warmest Christian love. We also wish to express our congratulations and gratitude to those who conceived the idea of this Armenia-Diaspora Conference and worked hard to make it a reality.

The issues faced by Armenia and the Diaspora are many and serious. Therefore, this historic conference places a burden of heavy responsibilities and serious commitments on the shoulders of its organizers and participants. This is the reason why the Armenian Evangelical Church is present at this conference with the prayerful participation of the representatives of all Armenian Evangelical regional church unions in the world, namely, Rev. Yuri Avanesyan from Armenia; Rev. Megrditch Karagoezian from the Middle East; Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian from North America; Rev. Gilbert Léonian from Europe; Rev. René Léonian from the Eurasian region; Mr. Hampartsum Moumdjian from South America; Mr. Borros Halladjian from France; Mr. Andrew Torigian, representing the Armenian Missionary Association of America; and Rev. Movses B. Janbazian, Secretary of the Armenian Evangelical World Council.

Armenian Evangelicals have been an inseparable part of the life and history of the Armenian nation since 1846. Armenian Evangelicals have gone through all the horrors of massacres, genocide and statelessness that befell the Armenian people. At the same time, Armenian Evangelicals have been unreserved participants in all the strivings and achievements of the Armenian nation.

Currently, the Armenian Evangelical Church, under the blessings of God, continues to minister to our people in Armenia and in 20 other countries around the world through its more than 155 pulpits; 185 ordained ministers; 25 educational institutions; Haigazian University of Beirut (the only Armenian institution of higher learning outside Armenia); many social service centers; publications; youth centers; and significant endowments and foundations dedicated to charitable, educational and humanitarian purposes. Specially, through their missionary arm, the Armenian Missionary Association of America, Armenian Evangelicals render inestimable services to our people in the Diaspora, in the Homeland and in Artsakh.

Representatives of the Armenian Evangelical Churches worldwide at the First Armenia Diaspora Conference.
L to R: Rev. Dr. René Léonian, Rev. Megrditch Karagoezian, Rev. Krikor Youmshajekian, Andrew Torigian, Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, Rev. Dr. Vahan Tootikian, Rev. Yuri Avanesyan, Rev. Gilbert Léonian, Hampartsum Moumdjian and Borros Halladjian

We believe that the independence of Armenia offers a special opportunity to strengthen the relationship between Armenia and the Diaspora. Therefore, Armenian Evangelicals pray and work with renewed hope for the enhancement of the mutual ties and relationship between Armenia and the Diaspora, which will benefit both of these wings of the Armenian nation. We wish to depict this relationship as a symbiotic one, which will nurture and assure the existence and prosperity of both Armenia and the Diaspora.

Our understanding of the Armenia-Diaspora mutual relationship rests on two basic premises.

The first of these premises is that all human beings who confess to being Armenian comprise one nation, the Armenian nation; they have one homeland, the historical Armenia; and both the Armenian nation and Armenia are under one flag, the red, blue and orange Armenian tricolor.

The second basic premise on which our understanding of the Armenia-Diaspora mutual relationship is based is that unity does not mean uniformity. We believe that unity is having a common purpose on essential issues and cooperation on common objectives. In other words, attainable unity in the Diaspora, and between Armenia and the Diaspora is necessarily based on the following principles: – non-negotiable and unreserved unity, and even uniformity, in essential and vital issues; – freedom and understanding in non-vital and non-essential issues; and – mutual love and respect in all issues.

The Armenian Evangelical Church believes that the following are the major essential issues the Armenian nation is facing at present:

  1. Maintaining the liberation and independence of Artsakh by all means, but preferably through creative negotiations and diplomatic efforts; and, at an appropriate time, the annexation of the Armenian lands of Nagorno Karabagh to the Motherland of Armenia.
  2. Assuring the defense and security of Armenia through adequate military preparedness, and a flexible, balanced and wise foreign policy pursued in consultation with the Diaspora. Never again should the Armenian nation be subjected to massacres and genocide! Never again should we lose any part of that tiny piece of land remained to us out of the boundless universe created by God!
  3. A condition of political stability and a democratic system of government in Armenia which will assure human rights, including the right to freedom of speech, conscience, religion and worship for all citizens.
  4. Vitalization of the economy of Armenia by overcoming the difficulties of the current blockade, implementing a market economy, faithfully adhering to the current privatization laws and regulations, adopting a practical and equitable system of taxation, and creating an atmosphere of trust and confidence for Diasporan and international financial investments and credits.
  5. Reformation and modernization of the educational system and institutions of Armenia so that our current and future generations will be equipped to benefit from the scientific and technological wonders of the 21st century, and our people will be enabled to compete with neighboring and other nations.
  6. Seeking the recognition of the Armenian genocide by a greater number of nations and international bodies through coordinated and persistent efforts by the Diaspora and Armenia, as well as pursuit of reparations for the crime, and rectification of the injustices committed against our nation.
  7. Halting the current emigration from Karabagh and Armenia by raising the living standards of our people through investment and creation of job opportunities.
  8. Slowing the assimilation of the diasporan Armenians by all possible means, and the development of an Armenian identity and sense of belongingness among the younger generation in the Diaspora through coordinated efforts by Armenia and the Diaspora.
  9. The bonding together of the Diaspora and Armenia by enacting a dual citizenship law in Armenia, promoting youth and student-exchange programs, creating in Armenia and Artsakh Kibbutz-type communities for diasporan young people, promoting the exchange of cultural and educational programs through mutual visits and modern technology and communication means, and ironing out the differences between the Eastern and Western Armenian dialects.

We believe that these and other issues should be discussed jointly by Armenia and the Diaspora, and the proposals issuing from these discussions should be pursued with the concerted efforts of both Armenia and the Diaspora.

We Armenian Evangelicals also have another serious concern, which relates to the current weakness of the Christian faith of our people. For various reasons, our people in Armenia and the Diaspora have lost our former spiritual values, the faith of our forebears and the vision of Gregory the Illuminator, which have played such an important role in the development of our national image, character and cultural heritage. In order to reclaim our historical and genuine national identity, we have to rediscover the Gospel-inspired holy and pure faith of our fathers. We believe that if we cannot live as a Christian nation, the independence that we have achieved, and the lands we have liberated, as well as the economic, social and scientific progress we hope to achieve, all will be in vain. It is impossible to build a good world without building up the inner spiritual world of people. It is impossible to create a noble culture, lifestyle, society or civilization without adhering to noble principles, truth, and spiritual values, the purest source of which is God the Creator, the Lord and the Savior of the universe.

Therefore, it is our highest hope and ardent prayer that when during the first year of the third millennium we joyfully and with pride celebrate the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity as the state religion of Armenia, all of us in Armenia and in the Diaspora will experience the beginning of a new spiritual revival at government, church and community levels, and we shall once again rededicate ourselves as a nation to Jesus Christ.

In 301 A.D. our forebears made a covenant with Jesus Christ. If we fulfill our commitment to that covenant, then God will abundantly bless our small but precious nation, and He will make our nation a source of blessings not only to its sons and daughters, but also to its neighboring peoples and to all humanity. We believe that this is our nation’s reason for being; this is our people’s mission in the world; and this is the God-ordained destiny of our Haigaznian (Armenian) race.

May God bless the Republic of Armenia and the children of our nation living in the Motherland and in the Diaspora, now and always. Amen.

Congratulatory Letter to Arayik Harutyunyan, the newly elected President of Artsakh Republic

The President/CEO of the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia sent a Congratulatory letter to Arayik Harutyunyan, the newly elected President of Artsakh Republic.

Please read the Congratulatory letter as posted on website.

Աւստրալիայի Հայ Աւետարանչական Ընկերակցութեան Նախագահ/Գործադիր Տնօրէն Վեր. Դոկտ. Գրիգոր Եումշաճըքեանը շնորհաւորական ուղերձ հղեց Արցախի Հանրապետութեան Նորընտիր Նախագահ Արայիկ Հարությունյանին։ՇՆորհաւորական ուղերձը կրնաք կարդալ վարը նշուած կայքէջին վրայ։

L to R: Kaylar Michaelian, Permanent Representative of Arstakh Republic to Australia; Rev. Dr René Leonian, President of the Union of the Armenian Evangelical Churches of Eurasia; Rev. Haroutune Selimian, President of the Armenian Protestant Community of Syria; Pres. Arayik Harutyunyan, President of the Republic of Artsakh; Rev. Berdj Djambazian, President of the Armenian Evangelical World Council; Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, President of the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia; Rev. Aram Babajanyan, Armenia

Armenian Missionary Association of Australia Raises $35,000 For “Shogh” Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh

Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, AMA-Australia President

The Armenian Missionary Association of Australia (AMA-Australia) set a goal in 2019 to raise funds to support AMAA’s “Shogh” Educational Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh, which provide provisional services for underprivileged children. The Centers, located in Gyumri, Vanadzor and Yerevan in Armenia and Askeran and Shushi in Artsakh, support children 6-12 years old who are living in socially underserved families, providing them a safe environment during parents’ working hours. The main objectives of the Centers are to help these children overcome educational difficulties, grow personally, and become part of an educated and healthy society. AMAA Representative in Armenia Harout Nercessian was invited to Australia to share this important work done with the children in these Centers and in their communities.

On Sunday March 24, Mr. Nercessian spoke at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church of Longueville to a combined Worship Service with Lane Cove Uniting Church, where he delivered the message and made a presentation about the Association’s work in Armenia and Artsakh. A Lawn Bowls Fundraising event followed the Worship Service at the Longueville Sports Club. This unique event was the first in a series of events organized for this year’s AMA-Australia Week, which was well attended by young people and enjoyed by all.

Zela Margossian Quintet (ARIA Nominated)

Later that afternoon, a cultural event was held at Longueville St. Andrew’s Uniting Church, featuring the Zela Margossian Quintet. Their amazing ethno-jazz performance with a taste of Armenian traditional music was greatly appreciated by all. The group donated all proceeds from the Concert to the “Shogh” Educational Day Centers. The opening of a Photography Exhibition followed the Concert in the Church’s War Memorial Hall, where Raffi Elejian, a new arrival from Aleppo, Syria, exhibited his photos. The Exhibition was opened by the Past President of Uniting Church of Australia (UCA), Stuart McMillan and was open throughout the following week.

On Tuesday, March 26, Manvel Saribekyan’s documentary movie Map of Salvation, about five young European Missionaries who were witnesses to the Armenian Genocide and subsequently founded shelters for Armenian children and women, was screened at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church War Memorial Hall.

Opera Singer, Natalie Aroyan (Sydney Opera House)

On Sunday, March 31, the AMA-Australia Sunday Worship and Praise Service was held at the Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney in Willoughby. Many dignitaries, UCA clergy, politicians and representatives of Armenian organizations were present. The Service was led by Rev. Hagop Sarkissian, Church Minister. AMA-Australia President and Executive Director Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian offered the prayer and brought greetings on behalf of the Association. Mr. Nercessian brought the message based on Luke 12:13-21 The Parable of the Rich Fool. He also gave a report on the inspiring work that is done for our children in the “Shogh” Centers and the amazingly transforming impact that has been achieved in their lives and in their families, all for the glory of God. During the Service, talented and famous opera singer, Natalie Aroyan performed an aria by Pucini, accompanied by talented pianist Alex Sahagian. At the conclusion of the Service, UCA President Dr. Dierdre Palmer offered prayer, led the Lord’s Prayer Hyre Mer and gave the Benediction.

Harout Nercessian, AMAA Representative in Armenia

Following the Service, the AMA-Australia Annual Luncheon was held at St. Andrew’s Uniting Church War Memorial Hall. The Luncheon was well attended and included politicians and UCA leaders. All enjoyed the delicious food and the wonderful entertainment provided by the Lane Cove Delta Jazz Band, led by David Cant, a member of St. Andrew’s Uniting Church. Rev. Dr. Youmshajekian presented a brief audio-visual report about last year’s AMAA Centenary Fundraising for the Artsakh Kindergartens and the completion of the renovations. He made an appeal to continue their support to the AMAA’s projects, especially this year’s fundraising for the “Shogh” Day Centers, including the Sponsorship programs. Mr. Nercessian outlined the work done with disadvantaged children in these Centers. Some beautiful handicrafts, made by the children of “Shogh” Centers, and the bilingual New Testaments were available for purchase. With the generous donations of our supporters throughout the week-long activities, $35,000 Australian dollars net was raised for the “Shogh” Educational Day Centers in Armenia and Artsakh.

During his stay in Australia, Mr. Nercessian also spoke at the Armenian Evangelical Church Ladies Group Worship Service and visited the Armenian Day Schools of AGBU Alexander School and Hamazkaine Galstaun College.

Officially established in 1991 as an independent charitable organization and registered Incorporation in Australia, AMA-Australia is a sister Association of the Armenian Missionary Association of America (AMAA). AMAA-Australia is the brainchild of the former AMAA Executive Director, the late Rev. Dr. Movses Janbazian, who unfortunately didn’t see its fruition. It pursues the same aims as the AMAA, serving the religious, educational and social needs of Armenian communities in the Homeland and Diaspora.

AMA-Australia Renovates the Playground of Choratan, a Border Village in Armenia

September 25, 2015 was a festive day for Choratan Village in Tavush Region of the Republic of Armenia. It marked the dedication ceremony of the Village Kindergarten playground which was completely renovated by a generous donation from the Armenian Missionary Association of Australia. The old playground, which was an abandoned area on the Kindergarten grounds, now has green areas, benches, swings and play stations for the children to enjoy.

For the dedication service present were Harout Nercessian, AMAA Representative in Armenia, Lusine Ohanyan, the Coordinator of the External Relations of the AMA-Armenia, representatives of AMA-Australia lead by the President/Executive Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian, The Mayor and many other representatives of the Tavush Region who were present at the dedication ceremony, expressed their heartfelt gratitude for the renovation of this playground, which was a necessity for the children of the Kindergarten and of Choratan village at large, and once again reaffirmed that over the past years AMAA has generously contributed for the well-being of the people of the border villages, and specially of the children.

Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian and Kakig Melikian, RA Parliamentary Representative of Tavush Region, along with the children of the Kindergarten cut the ribbon of the opening of the Playground, after which the guests toured the playground and expressed their gratitude to the representatives of the AMA-Australia for their patriotic work. The mayor of Choratan Village Varuzhan Baghmanyan presented special certificates of gratitude to the Harout Nercessian, Rev. Dr. Krikor Youmshajekian and to the representatives of the AMA-Australia. The opening ceremony concluded with a special program presented by the students of Choratan Kindergarten.